Friday, April 22, 2011

Common Sense and the Role of Government

Starting in August, an airline that loses your bag will have to reimburse you for the baggage fee you paid to have it safely delivered with you to your destination. The airline can’t lose your bag and keep your money, as is currently the practice.

Why will the airline have to refund your fee? Because the government says so.

That’s why we need government.

For many years, Americans have bought into the notion—a common theme among Republicans—that government regulation isn’t necessary because “the market” takes care of everything.

Well, the market doesn’t take care of everything. In the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “Competition has not taken care of these problems. We would not be addressing them if competition had done that.”

Airlines are businesses, and their moral compass is profit. Without pressure of some kind to be fair, a business such as an airline has no incentive to do something that may be inconvenient and unprofitable, such as refunding a fee for a lost bag.

Banks had no reason to stop escalating the already usurious interest rates they charged for credit card purchases, or to refund unfair or unwarranted fees and fines, until the government stepped in and provided some firm, fair guidelines. Without government, processors have no incentive to be sure our foods are safe. It’s government that makes sure no company can dump toxic waste in your back yard—convenient as that might be for the company.

It’s an imperfect system, but it beats saying to a major corporation, “Please, sir or ma’am, I know I’m only one person, and I’m not rich or famous or powerful, but would you please be kind enough to . . . .”

Good luck with that.


Six said...

9 American boys were murdered in Afghanistan today because of our government and it's support of a horribly corrput faux Afghan government.

I turned on the news, and apparently the only thing worth talking about Donald Trump questioning the presidents academic record. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN... that's what they were talking about. Nevermind 9 dead Americans... what we all want to talk about is a blow-hard like Donald Trump!

Six said...

Yep - yay government! Thank goodness the government is worrying about the important things like private airlines baggage policies for private individuals who make a private choice as to when, where, how and with whom to give thier money to fly. Money well-spent. Science be damned, we have more innocents to kill